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Frankenweenie - Martin Short and Catherine O'Hara interview

Frankenweenie

Interview by Rob Carnevale

MARTIN Short and Catherine O’Hara talk about reuniting with director Tim Burton on Frankenweenie and why they opted to voice so many of the characters. They were speaking at a press conference to mark the start of the London Film Festival.

Q. Martin, what was your first impression of working with Tim Burton?
Martin Short: Well, my first time was on Mars Attacks! And I was so thrilled to meet Tim. I was such a fan of his. But what I was so excited about after I did Mars Attacks! was how unbelievably collaborative Tim was. He’s hired you, so the buck stops there. But he really wanted to know what you thought and then you kind of felt free to put out anything in the atmosphere. It really was an ideal working situation.

Q. And Catherine?
Catherine O’Hara: I was called to meet Tim for Beetlejuice and I was living in LA at the time, so I was told to meet him at Warner Bros Boulevard because that’s where Warner Bros was based at the time. But I looked it up in the LA map book and I found Warner Bros Boulevard in Anaheim and I drove and drove and drove. I ended up thinking: “Whoever this guy is, he is so far outside of Hollywood I’m not sure I want to work with him!” I eventually had to stop at a phone booth, because I didn’t have a cell-phone back then, and somebody told me I was in the wrong place! But I finally got back there about two hours late and there was a note on the door saying ‘really sorry I missed you… I have a life’.

Q. You acted alongside each other for the parents, which is unusual for animation? But what was it like doing three different characters in the movie?
Martin Short: Well, when it came to the parents Catherine and I did it together, which I thought was very smart because we have a long history together [anyway]. And I think Tim really had a very specific idea of what he wanted those characters to be like. He wanted them to feel intimate and as though they had been together forever, so doing it together it was very easy to achieve that. The other two characters that I did in the film, Nassor and Mr Burgemeister, were just fun to work on. And we kept experimenting. They begin a certain way and then you land at a Lionel Barrymore meets Ronald Reagan thing. Tim would quite often say: “Go with your instinct and then divide by seven!”

Catherine O’Hara: I think it was very sly on Tim’s part to get us to record the Frankensteins together because he could cut down on the number of times he said: “Now, I want you to say it like you’re human beings!” [laughs] I was so happy when I saw those scenes because they are so beautiful. And those figures act so beautifully too that I was proud to be a part of their voices.

Read our review of Frankenweenie

Read our interview with Tim Burton